In April of 2020 we are launching an appeal for money and support to help us to save parts of the burial ground that are deteriorating beyond reasonable hope of saving them in the future. Please help us preserve this lovely place which is part of the heritage of the City, and make it available for local people and tourists as well as a community educational resource about the life of the Jews in 18th-century Bath.
We are appealing for £77,000 to enable us to have these works done.
Inscriptions are delaminating
Tombs are collapsing
The headstones recording the names of the interred are the heart of the cemetery and we desperately need to commission expert help to limit their decay.
Some of the headstones to the graves are 'delaminating', meaning that the lettering is coming away from the stone slab. In other cases the stone slabs themselves are eroding due to years of rain and weather.
But our greatest concern are two chest tombs, or sarcophagi, that are in imminent risk of collapse and must be rebuilt by an expert stonemason.
In order to get go ahead with these repairs we need consent from our local authority, and in turn this demands that we ask a conservation architect to help us ensure that everything is done to best preserve the fabric and spirit of this place in an appropriate way. Professional help is vital but adds to our costs.
This stage of the conservation will cost £7,500.
Ceiling and walls
Rough access needs improving
We want to transform the 18th-century outbuilding (once a prayer room) into better use as a learning space within our heritage site. This means replacing the many cracked and crumbling floor slabs, making good the internal walls with lime plaster and rebuilding the internal ceiling, which has collapsed.
The ground immediately inside the gates is rough and uneven, and impossible for wheelchair users to access. It too needs to be stabilized and slabbed. Improving access will cost £3,000.
The Victorian gates are rusting away over time and in need of professional maintenance which will cost £1,500.
The surrounding walls to the burial ground are badly in need of being repointed, both for stability and because it gives a sadly decayed appearance to the burial ground when viewed from the street. Some parts of the internal walls are distorting and will need repair. We started the task a few years ago and if you visit you can see what a difference it makes, but there is still many meters of wall that must be repaired and in for which for which £50,000 is needed.
In all of this, because of our responsibilities to a site within Bath's conservation zone, and our duties to provide a respectful and appropriate place for those interred, we experience the costs associated with professional advice and use of approved materials.
The outbuilding that was once a prayer room has only been secured against the weather to date. Now we need to repair the badly-cracked floor, plaster the walls and reinstate the ceiling so that it can be used as a learning and education space. This will cost £10,000.
Beyond the vital maintenance of the fabric of the burial ground, we want to work to better document the people buried here, find out who they were, why they came to Bath, and what happened to their family. This means detailed photography of the headstones, translation and analysis of the texts, researching the genealogy of the people and their families, and producing online and printed materials. We need £5,000 for this work.